Nigeria: #EndSARS - NBA Vows Legal Proceedings Against Military Over #LekkiMassacre

21 October 2020

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has reacted to the killings of #ENDSARS protesters by Nigerian soldiers at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos State on Tuesday night.

Many lives were lost in the incident while multiple sources and multimedia evidence online confirmed many injured persons are in different hospitals.

The protesters are demanding an end to police brutality. The state government had earlier announced a curfew from 4 p.m on Tuesday. The curfew was later announced to commence at 9 p.m.

While Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu confirmed that many were injured, he refused to speak on the number of casualties.

The Nigerian Army on its official Twitter account also denied responsibility for the shootings despite contrary evidence.

The president of the NBA, Olumide Akpata, in a statement on Wednesday, condemned the killings as an act of recklessness and lawlessness by the security apparatus of the government.

"The NBA states that even if the protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza were in breach of the curfew imposed by the Lagos State Government, such a misdemeanor or breach did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the Nigerian military to confront otherwise peaceful, unarmed and defenseless protesters. To be clear, the events of today are events that we should never see or consider as normal in any democracy."

He called on the military high command to immediately identify and name the officers involved "in this gross professional misconduct for immediate prosecution and dismissal in line with extant laws.

"The NBA shall immediately commence legal proceedings at all relevant fora (both locally and internationally) against the Nigerian Military and other relevant authorities, on behalf of the families of the victims, for abuse of power, disregard of rules of engagement and the infringement of the fundamental rights (including right to life) of the affected citizens.

"Given the degenerating nature of the crisis, an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (the highest decision-making body of the NBA) will be convened within the next 48 hours to review the state of the Nation and take other appropriate steps to decisively deal with the situation and prevent the nation from further going adrift.

"The NBA believes that the current situation in the country calls for dynamic leadership and, as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, invites the President of Nigeria and others in authority to show uncommon leadership in saving the situation, instead of deploying troops against defenseless citizens whom they swore an oath to protect."

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